When thinking of islands, you might conjure images of palm trees, drinks with little umbrellas, and Calypso music playing in the background. Well, that’s not the case of the city of Fehmarn which makes up the entire island in the Baltic Sea, easily reached by car from Germany’s mainland, as well as by ferry from Denmark.
No, you’ll find it to be a whole different kind of island atmosphere. It was once a huge therapeutic spa destination in the 1960’s, around the same time the automobile bridge was built linking it to the mainland.
Fehmarn’s history dates back to ancient times and there are Stone Age grave hills found here to prove it. It’s the place of natural beauty, as seen at any of the nature preservation areas scattered around the island. Fehmarn is also home to some amazingly beautiful buildings that have withstood the test of time.
Since Burg is the largest of Fehmarn’s neighborhoods, it’s best to start there. You’ll find a wonderful beach with its own promenade with some restaurants and shops on this tiny island city.
It’s also where you’ll find the 12th century Romanesque church St. Nikolai, with its beautiful artwork. Right next door to St. Nikolai is Fehmarn’s Local History Museum housed in a charming half-timbered building. The museum is the perfect place to help understand more of this unique place.
There are also castle ruins to visit, too. For example, Castle Glambeck that was built in 1210 and destroyed some 400 years later during the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648).
The best advice is to take your time, as there is something to see every time you turn around. You’ll find other medieval churches in some of the other neighborhoods, as well. One in particular is Petrikirche in Landkirchen, a 13th century church filled with simply splendid artwork from the last eight centuries.
You’ll also find many memorial stones scattered throughout the island. One memorial stone is dedicated to the famous singer and guitarist Jimi Hendrix who played his last concert here on Sept. 6, 1970 and died 12 days later.
Lighthouses are also scattered along the island’s coast and really make for some wonderful photo opportunities.
On the west side of the island, you’ll find a nature preservation area in Wallenau, where over 80 species of birds come to breed. Visitors can learn more about the birds that come here at the Nature Protection Museum or at the Information Center. There are other nature preserve areas around the island, but Wallenau’s bird refuge seems to be the most popular.
Fehmarn is one of those places that isn’t all work and no play. She hosts many festivals throughout the year, most being in the Spring and Summer. There’s a wonderful catamaran regatta held here annually, as well as a windsurfing festival and beach volleyball tournament. If you’re looking for some other sport, why not try out a miniature golf course? Better yet, check out the FehMare Spa.
Fehmarn is a place with a rich history and culture, as well as a fun town filled with festivals and sporting fun. When you’ve got it as good as this island city, who needs little umbrellas in their drink?